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T2: Trainspotting Review – 20 Years Worth Waiting For!

By Jamie Davies, Contributor, – Twitter: @JamieODavies

Danny Boyle’s risky sequel to the 1996 hit proved to be a brave move as Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie reunite.


Directed by Danny Boyle

Starring: Ewan McGregor (Mark Renton), Ewen Bremner (Spud), Jonny Lee Miller (Sick Boy) & Robert Carlyle (Begbie)

Running time: 117 minutes

Age rating: 18


When a second instalment was announced to Trainspotting, it seemed many fans were just as nervous, along the lines of excitement, to see what the new story had to offer.

We all know film sequels are traditionally a failed attempt, when comparing them to their originals. With this tradition I did have butterflies in my stomach when sitting down waiting for the film to begin, wondering if this would either be impressive or disappointing. Many additional films to a series can be seen as money-making stunts, but T2 actually had a story to tell, sorry Hangover 3. When comparing the two, this year’s release was going to be difficult to even have a scratch on the previous, but it entered the raffle and won the prize. The original left us with dark moments and misuse of drugs – scenes that will be remembered for the right and wrong reasons.

The build up saw Boyle say in many interviews, before the release, that he had worked on a different story to mark the tenure in 2006 – it ended up being a plot the director did not want to feed to the big screens. He even added in the interviews that a bloke caught the crew filming a scene in T2 and said, “this film better be good.” Plenty of pressure on Boyle’s shoulders.

The plot of course takes place back in Edinburgh 20 years after Mark Renton ran off with the thousands of pounds and ditched his uninspiring friends. Ewan McGregor’s recovered and clean Renton returns to the city learning nothing has really changed. Renton’s old friends are still struggling with personal life problems including Spud and Sick Boy’s obsession of drugs in their 40s. And, re-exploring the roughest areas the Scottish city has to offer. The protagonist’s homecoming brings back the regrets and memories which decided Renton’s departure in the first place.

There are a few nostalgia moments, as expected, which leaves you with a smile to remind you just how emotional and thrilling the first instalment really was. An Iggy Pop vinyl spinning on the decks to a revolting toilet cubical and another honest ‘choose life’ speech from Renton. The ‘choose life’ segment did, however, feel dubbed for the scene with its loud volume that felt unnecessary for a restaurant setting.

Renton and Sick Boy’s getting high session sees them going back to the days they were growing up by sharing their love of George Best’s high class football at Hibernian making them escape from the negative feeling of their present day lifestyle. The love taste for the main figures comes quickly back just minutes in especially with the innocent feeling of Spud as you sync in with Renton’s return to homeland. Begbie’s psychopathic and violent ways along with the amoral and con artist of Sick Boy.

Other films I think of when many years has passed are Jurassic World, American Pie and Terminator. If you are a big fan of these franchises, I would recommend you to see each one just for the old habits, but T2 Trainspotting left me thinking the wait sure was worth it, while others like American Reunion and Terminator: Salvation will be remembered as a killer to their prequels and arguably an excuse just to make more money and to take more advantage from their overflowing fan base.

Overall, the approach from Boyle will be praised for his braveness and challenge to add to the much loved 1996 film. It will no doubt leave you wanting to know more with the possibilities of open plots left out in the air.

See you again in the next 20 years.

T2: Trainspotting is out in cinemas on January 27.

Rating: 7/10

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